Reading Response 3

To be honest, a lot of this material went over my head. I’m always pretty quickly unseated by terms like “dialectical” and “critical object.” Given the context, even “theory” comes across as vague. But part way through, an anchor of understanding appeared, which was the notion that the function of criticism is to analyze and to determine how the subject works. From that I gathered that the overall gist of what Jasinski is concerned with is the method or methods of criticism and whether there is value in standardizing methods of criticism, or some commentary on the discussion surrounding the theory and methods of criticism; like I said, I’m not exactly clear what the implication is.

The Michael Osborn paper is more direct and understandable, perhaps because it deals with a single aspect under the umbrella which Jasinski was trying to cover. He talks about one specific method: critical analysis focused on metaphors, particularly archetypal ones. His paper is essentially laying out this form of analysis in what might be termed a method for applying it. His focus is on the specific metaphor of light and dark, and how it’s use in speeches and writing influences the audience, not only because of whatever intrinsic relevance the metaphor has to the writing, but also because of natural human expectations and associations related to such elemental concepts as light and dark.

It reminds of some of the principles that we’ve discussed in the course so far. In our children’s books, for example, I can definitely see how one could apply Osborn’s thread of thought and analyze the collection based on light-dark metaphors. Off the op of my head, the allusions and impressions he attributes to it are definitely present in most, if not all of the works done by our class. I suppose in the end, the reading has raised the questions of how to determine the best critical lens (like light-dark) through which to analyze a given subject, and why I should care about method.

-Travis

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